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Laura Valerio, Valeria Bottici, Antonio Matrone, Paolo Piaggi, David Viola, Virginia Cappagli, Laura Agate, Eleonora Molinaro, Raffaele Ciampi, Alessia Tacito, Teresa Ramone, Cristina Romei, and Rossella Elisei

Vandetanib is an important treatment option for advanced metastatic medullary thyroid cancer. The aims of this study were to evaluate the predictors of both a longer response to vandetanib and the outcome. Medical records of 79 medullary thyroid cancer patients treated with vandetanib at our center were analysed. Twenty-five patients were treated for <12 months, 54 were treated for ≥12 months and 24 of these latter were treated for ≥48 months (short-, long- and very long-term). The median progression free survival of the long and very long-term treated patients was significantly longer than in the ZETA trial. When comparing the groups of short - and long-term treated patients the only significant difference was that these latter were less frequently previously treated with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. However, the long-term treated patients had a younger age, both at diagnosis and enrolment, which was statistically significant in the very long-term treated patients. In the long-term treated group, younger age, enrolment for symptoms and development of adverse events were significantly correlated with a better outcome. The enrolment for symptoms remained the only statistically significant predictor of a good outcome in the very long-term treated patients. In conclusion, early treatment with vandetanib, when patients are younger, with a good ECOG performance status and symptomatic disease, not necessarily progressing for RECIST, seem to be the best predictors of a longer and durable response. Further studies are needed to confirm these results.

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Mason A Lee, Kensey N Bergdorf, Courtney J Phifer, Caroline Y Jones, Sonia Y Byon, Leah M Sawyer, Joshua A Bauer, and Vivian L Weiss

Thyroid cancer has the fastest growing incidence of any cancer in the United States, as measured by the number of new cases per year. Despite advances in tissue culture techniques, a robust model for thyroid cancer spheroid culture is yet to be developed. Using eight established thyroid cancer cell lines, we created an efficient and cost-effective 3D culture system that can enhance our understanding of in vivo treatment response. We found that all eight cell lines readily form spheroids in culture with unique morphology, size, and cytoskeletal organization. In addition, we developed a high-throughput workflow that allows for drug screening of spheroids. Using this approach, we found that spheroids from K1 and TPC1 cells demonstrate significant differences in their sensitivities to dabrafenib treatment that closely model expected patient drug response. In addition, K1 spheroids have increased sensitivity to dabrafenib when compared to monolayer K1 cultures. Utilizing traditional 2D cultures of these cell lines, we evaluated the mechanisms of this drug response, showing dramatic and acute changes in their actin cytoskeleton as well as inhibition of migratory behavior in response to dabrafenib treatment. Our study is the first to describe the development of a robust spheroid system from established cultured thyroid cancer cell lines and adaptation to a high-throughput format. We show that combining 3D culture with traditional 2D methods provides a complementary and powerful approach to uncover drug sensitivity and mechanisms of inhibition in thyroid cancer.

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Nidal Muhanna, Harley H L Chan, Jason L Townson, Cheng S Jin, Lili Ding, Michael S Valic, Catriona M Douglas, Christina M MacLaughlin, Juan Chen, Gang Zheng, and Jonathan C Irish

The incidence of differentiated thyroid cancer has increased significantly during the last several decades. Surgical resection is the primary treatment for thyroid cancer and is highly effective, resulting in 5-year survival rates greater than 98%. However, surgical resection can result in short- and long-term treatment-related morbidities. Additionally, as this malignancy often affects women less than 40 years of age, there is interest in more conservative treatment approaches and, an unmet need for therapeutic options that minimize the risk of surgery-related morbidities while simultaneously providing an effective cancer treatment. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has the potential to reduce treatment-related side effects by decreasing invasiveness and limiting toxicity. Owing to multiple advantageous properties of the porphyrin-HDL nanoparticle (PLP) as a PDT agent, including preferential accumulation in tumor, biodegradability and unprecedented photosensitizer packing, we evaluate PLP-mediated PDT as a minimally invasive, tumor-specific treatment for thyroid cancer. On both a biologically relevant human papillary thyroid cancer (K1) mouse model and an anatomically relevant rabbit squamous carcinoma (VX2)-implanted rabbit thyroid model, the intrinsic fluorescence of PLP enabled tracking of tumor preferential accumulation and guided PDT. This resulted in significant and specific apoptosis in tumor tissue, but not surrounding normal tissues including trachea and recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN). A long-term survival study further demonstrated that PLP-PDT enabled complete ablation of tumor tissue while sparing both the normal thyroid tissue and RLN from damage, thus providing a safe, minimally invasive, and effective alternative to thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer therapies.

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Fei Han, Wen-bin Liu, Jian-jun Li, Ming-qian Zhang, Jun-tang Yang, Xi Zhang, Xiang-lin Hao, Li Yin, Cheng-yi Mao, Xiao Jiang, Jia Cao, and Jin-yi Liu

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Wei Zhang, Hang Zhang, and Xudong Zhao

Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is one of the most prevalent tumors in endocrine system. CircRNAs (circular RNAs) are widely known as critical regulators in tumorigenesis of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). The present study focused on the functional investigation and potential molecular mechanism toward circ_0005273 in PTC progression. Gene Expression Omnibus datasets (GSE93522) and qRT-PCR (quantitative real-time PCR) analyses showed that circ_0005273 were upregulated in PTC tissues and cell lines. Moreover, circ_0005273 was located in the cytoplasm of PTC cells and suggested poor prognosis in PTC patients. In vivo and in vitro functional assays indicated that knockdown of circ_0005273 inhibited PTC tumor growth and progression, respectively. Mechanistically, miR-1183 was identified as functional target of circ_0005273, and circ_0005273 could directly bind to miR-1138 and relieve inhibition of SRY (sex-determining region Y)-box 2 (SOX2). Data from Cell Counting Kit-8, colony formation assays and transwell assays revealed that the oncogenic role of circ_0005273 on PTC progression dependent on miR-1183-mediated SOX2 expression. In conclusion, circ_0005273 functioned as a tumor promoter of PTC via circ_0005273/miR-1183/SOX2 axis, suggesting a novel biomarker and therapeutic target for PTC.

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Anna Angelousi, Krystallenia I Alexandraki, George Kyriakopoulos, Marina Tsoli, Dimitrios Thomas, Gregory Kaltsas, and Ashley Grossman

Endocrine organs are metastatic targets for several primary cancers, either through direct extension from nearby tumour cells or dissemination via the venous, arterial and lymphatic routes. Although any endocrine tissue can be affected, most clinically relevant metastases involve the pituitary and adrenal glands with the commonest manifestations being diabetes insipidus and adrenal insufficiency respectively. The most common primary tumours metastasing to the adrenals include melanomas, breast and lung carcinomas, which may lead to adrenal insufficiency in the presence of bilateral adrenal involvement. Breast and lung cancers are the most common primaries metastasing to the pituitary, leading to pituitary dysfunction in approximately 30% of cases. The thyroid gland can be affected by renal, colorectal, lung and breast carcinomas, and melanomas, but has rarely been associated with thyroid dysfunction. Pancreatic metastasis can lead to exo-/endocrine insufficiency with renal carcinoma being the most common primary. Most parathyroid metastases originate from breast and lung carcinomas and melanoma. Breast and colorectal cancers are the most frequent ovarian metastases; prostate cancer commonly affects the testes. In the presence of endocrine deficiencies, glucocorticoid replacement for adrenal and pituitary involvement can be life saving. As most metastases to endocrine organs develop in the context of disseminated disease, surgical resection or other local therapies should only be considered to ameliorate symptoms and reduce tumour volume. Although few consensus statements can be made regarding the management of metastases to endocrine tissues because of the heterogeneity of the variable therapies, it is important that clinicians are aware of their presence in diagnosis.

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Veronica R Placencio-Hickok, Anisha Madhav, Sungjin Kim, Frank Duong, Bryan Angara, Zhenqiu Liu, and Neil A Bhowmick

While the overall 5-year survival rate for prostate cancer is near 100%, up to 35% of patients will develop recurrent disease. At the time of prostatectomy, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is used to guide primary therapy with the goal of curative intervention. It can be valuable to know when primary therapy may not in fact be curative, so that subsequent adjuvant therapy can be administered at an early stage to limit progression. We examined prostate cancer patients with PSA ≤10 ng/mL that were all subjected to prostatectomy with at least 5 years of follow-up (n = 181). Based on data that endoglin (CD105) signaling in the tumor can contribute to prostate cancer progression, we examined the expression of soluble CD105 (sCD105) in the patient plasma. To determine the relation of plasma sCD105 measures to cellular CD105 in tissues, we tested an independent set of prostate cancer tissues and paired plasma (n = 31). Elevated sCD105 was found to be associated with recurrence-free survival of prostate cancer patients. Further, sCD105 levels in patient plasma were inversely correlated with cellular CD105 expression. This translational study supported preclinical data demonstrating the pro-tumorigenic capacity of cellular CD105 and provide a blood-based biomarker, sCD105, for prostate cancer recurrence in prostatectomy patients with PSA levels ≤10 ng/mL.

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Yuling Mao, Liuqing Zhu, Zhijian Huang, Chuanghua Luo, Ti Zhou, Lei Li, Guannan Wang, Zhonghan Yang, Weiwei Qi, Xia Yang, and Guoquan Gao

Sorafenib, a small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor with antiangiogenic activity, has been used in liver cancer and kidney cancer treatments. However, clinical trials with sorafenib for breast cancer were stopped in phase III due to limited efficacy. The existence of heterogeneous vasculatures involving tumor cells, such as vessel-like structures formed by vasculogenic mimicry and mosaic vessels, and their resistance to antiangiogenic therapy are thought to be a possible reason for failure of sorafenib therapy. Nevertheless, the features and mechanism of vasculogenesis by tumor cells remain unclear. In the present study, we found that breast cancer stem-like cells (BCSLCs, ALDH1+ cells) were involved in vasculogenic mimicry and mosaic vessel formation in triple-negative breast cancer tissues. Further, only ALDH1+ BCSLCs sorted from MDA-MB-231 could exhibit the tube formation and angiogenesis ability. Sorafenib could inhibit vascularization from endothelial cells rather than that from ALDH1+ cells. α-SMA was identified as a key molecule in vascular formation of BCSLCs. Mechanistically, HIF-1α enhanced the mRNA and protein levels of α-SMA by binding to the HRE element in the promoter directly and meanwhile increased the BCSLCs population. Interestingly, pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), an endogenous angiogenesis inhibitor, could inhibit both endothelial cell-derived and tumor cell-derived angiogenesis by downregulating HIF-1α in breast cancer. Our finding clarified the possible reason for the poor outcome of anti-angiogenesis therapy and PEDF may have the therapeutic potential.

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Martin Almquist, Elin Isaksson, and Naomi Clyne

Renal hyperparathyroidism (rHPT) is a complex and challenging disorder. It develops early in the course of renal failure and is associated with increased risks of fractures, cardiovascular disease and death. It is treated medically, but when medical therapy cannot control the hyperparathyroidism, surgical parathyroidectomy is an option. In this review, we summarize the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and medical treatment; we describe the effects of renal transplantation; and discuss the indications and strategies in parathyroidectomy for rHPT. Renal hyperparathyroidism develops early in renal failure, mainly as a consequence of lower levels of vitamin D, hypocalcemia, diminished excretion of phosphate and inability to activate vitamin D. Treatment consists of supplying vitamin D and reducing phosphate intake. In later stages calcimimetics might be added. RHPT refractory to medical treatment can be managed surgically with parathyroidectomy. Risks of surgery are small but not negligible. Parathyroidectomy should likely not be too radical, especially if the patient is a candidate for future renal transplantation. Subtotal or total parathyroidectomy with autotransplantation are recognized surgical options. Renal transplantation improves rHPT but does not cure it.